Thursday, September 13, 2018

Sistine chapel choir investigation

Vatican confirms investigation into the Pontifical Choir
Money laundering, serious fraud, embezzlement: The director of the choir of the Sistine Chapel is currently facing serious allegations. The choirmaster is also being investigated due to his dealings with the boys' choir.

The Administrative Director and the head of the choir of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican are being investigated. Media reports were confirmed by the Vatican on Wednesday evening. Pope Francis had "a few months ago, ordered investigations on financial and administrative matters of the choir". These are still in progress, they said.

According to media reports, Administrative Director, Michelangelo Nardella is accused of having deposited funds from concert income from the choir into an Italian account. It concerns the criminal offences of money laundering, serious fraud and embezzlement. It is claimed Nardella's account for concert receipts had been used for personal expenses.

Rude tones

Already at the beginning of July Nardella had been suspended. His lawyer had denied that there were investigations against her client. However, the investigations opened soon after, said the Vatican. In addition, there is currently a visitation of the choir, reports Vatican Insider. The parents of some choir boys complained about the rude tone of the choirmaster, Massimo Palombella.

The Pontifical Choir of the Sistine Chapel (Cappella Musicale Pontificia Sistina) is considered the oldest continuously existing choir in the world. It was founded in its present form in 1471, but its origins date back to Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century. The four-part ensemble has about 60 singers, with soprano and alto registers populated by boys' voices. Through the elaboration of the liturgical celebrations of the Pope, the music of the "Cappella Sistina" finds a worldwide distribution. In addition, the choir regularly releases recordings or undertakes concert tours to countries around the world.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

German bishops accuse press of irresponsibility for making sexual abuse report public

Abuse study: Bishops criticise indiscretion
The German bishops want to confront the results of their abuse study. These are "oppressive and shameful". Nevertheless, they are criticising the premature publication.  This is because the planned counselling provision for the victims is not yet available.

The German Bishops Conference regrets that the results of their study on sexual abuse have become known ahead of time as a result of indiscretion. "Especially with regard to the victims of sexual abuse, the irresponsible announcement of the study is a serious blow," said Bishop Stephan Ackermann, the abuse representative of the Episcopal Conference, according to a press release on Wednesday.

The bishops would face up to the content of the study, according to Ackermann. "We know about the extent of the sexual abuse demonstrated by the study's findings, which is depressing and shameful for us." He called for a "responsible and professional working through" of sexual abuse in the church. The study is a measure "that we owe not only to the Church but above all and first and foremost those affected," said the bishop.

"Spiegel" and "Zeit" have published contents in advance

The on-line issues of "Spiegel" and "Zeit" reported on the central statements of the study on Wednesday, two weeks before the planned presentation of the study during the General Assembly of the Episcopal Conference in Fulda on September 25. According to Ackermann, the bishops knew about the content.  However, the Bishops' Conference intends to adhere to the planned release date, regardless of the indiscretions, according to Ackermann.

Ackermann pointed out that the Episcopal Conference wanted to accompany the publication of the study on 25 September with a counselling offer for those affected. For this purpose, a hotline should be set up for people "who are upset because of the reporting and need to talk to someone". However, due to the early release of the study results, this service is not yet ready. Ackermann asked before the activation of the hotline for contact to be made via the telephone and Internet chaplaincy or to the Abuse Prevention Officer in the diocese.

Study documents 3,677 abuse victims

The new Bishop's Abuse Study documents a total of 3,677 victims who were abused by at least 1,670 priests and religious in the years 1946-2014. The study further states that the researchers did not assume that "the sexual abuse of minors by clergy of the Catholic Church is a past topic that has since been overcome".

The study was created by a research consortium led by the Mannheim psychiatrist, Harald Dreßing. Also involved are the Institute of Criminology and the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Heidelberg and the Department of Criminology at the University of Gießen. The aim of the study, in which all 27 dioceses in Germany have participated, is to gain more clarity and transparency about this dark side in our church, for the sake of those affected, but also to see for themselves the wrongdoings and to do anything to ensure they cannot be repeated.


Report finds massive, previously unreported abuse and cover-up- in German Catholic Church- recommends ordaining homosexuals.

The Catholic Church in Germany has a massive problem in dealing with the sexual abuse of minors by priests and religious. This is the result of the MHG study, the report of a research consortium of the Universities of Mannheim, Heidelberg and Giessen.

The strictly confidential study ordered by the German Bishops' Conference is to be presented on 25 September by Cardinal Reinhard Marx in Fulda. Der Spiegel has obtained the summary of the results.

Accordingly, more than 38,000 personnel and reference files from 27 German dioceses were examined and evaluated. For the period from 1946 to 2014, the study counts 3677 predominantly male minors as victims of sexual offenses. 1670 clerics are accused of misdeeds.

More than half of the victims, were at the time of the crime, a maximum of 13 years old. In about every sixth case, there were different forms of rape. Three-quarters of those affected were in a church or pastoral relationship with the accused.

These numbers are called conservative assumptions. "Findings about the dark side were not obtained," write the authors of the study: "Thus all frequency information understates the actual proportions".

Numerous files destroyed

Half of all cases would not even have been detected without a request for compensation by the persons concerned, as the personal files of the accused did not contain any information. In many cases they were "destroyed or manipulated". This results in a "reference to the extent of the assumed dark side," write the authors of the study.

Moreover, there is no reason to believe that "the sexual abuse of minors by clergy of the Catholic Church is a topic belonging to the past and now resolved".  The series of abuses continued up until the end of the investigation period.

Conspicuously often, the accused clerics were transferred to another place without the host community being "provided with the appropriate information" about the abuser. Only one third of the perpetrators had to submit to a canon law procedure, at the end of which the sanctions were minimal, if they were put in place at all.

The percentage of those accused within the total number of active clerics is four percent. Typologically they are divided into three categories: "fixed", "narcissistic-sociopathic" or "regressive-immature".

Celibacy as a risk factor?

When asked about the reasons for persistent abuse, the authors of the study are reluctant to comment. However, there are some indications: "It is urgent to rethink the fundamental refusal of the Catholic Church to consecrate homosexual men," it says. In addition, the question must be open whether the obligation to celibacy is "a potential risk factor".

At the moment, Cardinal Marx, Chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, is still working with his PR experts on the communication strategy for the 25 September - the day on which he intends to present the results of the study after a morning sermon at the Cathedral in Fulda. Its official title: "Sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests and male religious in the region of ​​the German Bishops' Conference".

The highest representative of the Catholic Church in Germany certainly will receive public attention in the context of the headlines about the recent abuse scandals in the United States,. For the future, a co-ordinated strategy and a "long-term catalogue of measures" is recommended by the authors of the study. "Lip-service from church leaders", should not be the response.


Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Islamic terrorist to be given funeral in Catholic Church

On May 29, the man killed three people in the centre of Liège.

The Church of On, in Marche-En-Famenne: this is where the funeral of Benjamin Herman, the killer of three people in the attack on Liege, will take place, according to L'Avenir.

St Laurent

The assailant's body, killed by the police shortly after committing these crimes, will be buried in the village cemetery.

The priest of the village of On, François Barbieux, spoke about the approach of the family of the one who is radicalized in prison: "The family is quite aware of the unacceptable nature of the acts, but it must mourn 'a son, a uncle, a grandson, who died tragically, in the acts he did before he died and in the way he died. "

The police will be present en masse to provide security at the funeral.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Top German paediatrician finds outcome of Alfie Evans case completely incomprehensible

Article which has just appeared in Die Welt- the top German newspaper.  They interview Professor Haas who is the head of the Child Cardiology and Paediatric Intensive Medicine Unit at Munich University Hospital.  He says what is happening would be totally unacceptable in Germany given the history of Nazi times.

Alfie Evans is sick. He's wrestling with death. The parents want to treat him with the help of German doctors, but they are not allowed to. Intensive care physician, Nikolaus Haas explains why the case makes him angry.

The little Alfie Evans has a serious illness, he struggles with death. His parents want to have him treated outside the UK, but they cannot. The clinic has gone to court against them and got a judgement in their favour. German doctors are also involved in the case. Professor Nikolaus Haas personally examined Alfie, he knows the medical history and has also prepared a report for the trial.

WELT: Professor Haas, you have contact with the parents of Alfie Evans. How did that happen?
Nikolaus Haas: The family or the lawyer team contacted us, and the court has appointed me as a reviewer. The doctors had told them that they in England did not want to do anything for their child and end the life-support measures. Also a transport to another hospital was forbidden to the parents, on the grounds that the child was too sick and this would endanger the child. They then searched for an intensive care service and found us and my senior physician Matthias Hübner, who offers to fly children of all ages in the company of a doctor specialising in pediatric intensive medicine and two sisters appropriately trained in paediatric intensive nursing throughout the Welt

WELT: Do not the British have such a service?
Haas: Yes. But they do not want the family to use it.

WELT: Why not?
Haas: That's a question of the system ... But in turn. The family then asked Mr. Hübner to see Alfie to see if he is transportable.

WELT: The British doctors were obviously not impressed by the colleague from Germany ...?
Haas: The hospital said quite openly, we do not want another doctor to look at the child. The family then said that we bring Mr. Hübner as a friend. It was like that in the end. He introduced himself as a doctor but the local team refused to speak with him. He then examined the child and took a look at the medical documents that are available to the parents themselves.

WELT: That's enough?
Haas: But surely. As an experienced pediatric intensive care physician, they do not need to read long files. You just look, is that a stable patient, yes or no. Alfie Evans was completely stable then, and also when I looked at the child. Alfie was correctly ventilated, he did not move, had seizures only occasionally. Mr Hübner then confirmed in writing that this child is fit to fly. Of course, that did not suit the hospital at all.

WELT: Why not?
Haas: Well, the colleagues say yes, this kid is so sick, it cannot be flown anywhere, that's too dangerous. Mr. Hübner then asked, so where can the child be treated? There was the connection to Italy to a children's clinic in the grounds of the Vatican. Even their doctors had examined Alfie. But these colleagues have also said that he may be too ill for transport.

WELT: How did it continue?
Haas: We also had a ready concept in consultation with Alfie's team to bring him to Munich. There he should be temporarily cared for. Thereafter, it was planned to send him to a nursing home in Poland for further care. But then the clinic said no and complained. Emotions were raised. Even the Pope has joined in, Alfie was offered Italian citizenship. In vain. And now a judge says after the completion of the respiration: You may go home, but not leave the country to have the child treated elsewhere, at your own expense? That's crazy!

WELT: How would Alfie be treated in Germany?
Haas: That's clear: if you have a child that is medically balanced, you still have to take care of these patients. We say that these patients should not lie in the intensive care unit, but should be optimally cared for. For example, in a facility or at home, depending on how the parents wish or are able.

WELT: How difficult is that?
Haas: For the patients who cannot breathe enough themselves, a respiratory aid must be made possible. In addition, the diet must be ensured, especially if patients cannot swallow. And it must be ensured that medicines can be supplied, usually via a nasogastric tube. All this is standard. Every major children's hospital has about a dozen such children who are severely handicapped and then cared for in the nursing home or at home. Total routine. In Germany, Alfie would have been at home for a year with such care!

WELT: But?
Haas: The English health system does not want that. Why not? I can only speculate, but as I understand it, the National Health Service is the sacred cow in England. The doctors say that what we do is right, period. And of course, such a treatment of an intensive care patient outside the clinic is about three times as expensive as in the clinic. When they set a precedent, they unleash an avalanche that costs a considerable amount of money.

WELT: Is that the only problem?
Haas: No, because now we come to the system question. For the trial before the Court of Appeal, where the hospital wanted to prevail, I had to give an opinion. There, I have allowed myself to write as an explanation for our management in Germany: We have learned in Germany because of our history, that there are things that you do not do with severely disabled patients. A society must be able to care for these patients equally and not decide to end life-support measures against the explicit desire of the family. But this was perceived as an inappropriate and rebellious, purely personal opinion. It was said that it did not matter.

"One is not so alone then"

WELT: It is not the first case in the UK - the late Charlie Gard had a similar fate.
Haas: Charlie's diagnosis was clear. He had a disease in which the energy building blocks of each cell were broken. No treatment had a chance of success, the child was brain dead, so to speak. Alfie is anything but brain dead. Yes, he is severely handicapped, he has a condition which one does not know exactly what it is. In any case, it is a so-called neurodegenerative disease, where the brain becomes ill over time and gradually perishes.

WELT: Could Alfie do better than British doctors say?
Haas: No. And there is probably no treatment that can cure Alfie. The question is, how do you deal with it at the end of your life? And nobody knows how long he can live. He could live at home for half a year, with appropriate support, maybe shorter, maybe longer. In Germany - but also in other countries of the Welt - we would now say: "How it goes further with him, is also a personal decision of the family." If the parents say we want the other way and also the dying process of the child at home then a society must be able to enable and accept that. Especially if you say we have nothing to offer you.

WELT: Nevertheless, there are examples where the best interests of the child would really be endangered by parents' decisions, right?
Haas: Yes. For example, if the parents are Jehovah's Witnesses and reject a blood transfusion, for example. Or if you have children with leukaemia and you want to treat the disease with homeopathy. Then you have to deprive the parents of custody, because there is a good treatment for the child. The state has to intervene, for the benefit of the child. But in England, in this particular case, the system says we're always right, and it's better for that child to die than for someone else to take care of the child. This is not understandable for me.

WELT: Too much rationality, too little ethics?
Haas: Difficult question. For that I know the system too little. However, this National Health Service system is apparently so unquestioned that no second opinion is allowed. If you want to get a different opinion in Germany with another doctor, one does not complain as a clinic and say death is reasonable. That's completely irrational! Again, there is no cure for this child in my view. But the remaining time must be managed reasonably. The child does not suffer, after all, from what I know and have seen. Interestingly, the colleagues say - and this is also the view of the judge - that the patient is in a neuro-vegetative status. This means that he gets nothing from his environment and has no pain. Where is the logic? If he is not in pain, what can you do wrong?

WELT: The machines are now switched off. But Alfie did not die, Alfie breathes. Could it torment him?
Haas: This is unlikely because his brain has been severely damaged by the confirmed investigations. But you can not be 100 percent sure. Breathing itself is a pure brain function without emotions. But beware: Just because Alfie is breathing does not mean that the brain has recovered. Of course, the cerebrum continues to be massively damaged.

WELT: Is the paediatric medicine of British colleagues worse than those in Germany?
Haas: No. The English make that outstanding. But when dealing with some severely disabled people, they obviously have a different approach. Our ethical understanding in Germany is different, I mean - thank God. The logic that it is better for the child to die than that someone else looks at it, and even to sue in court: This is an unimaginable behaviour for me.

WELT: But surely there's reasons for that to happen, right?
Haas: Well. The National Health Service and the judges are in my opinion both parts of a self-contained system. If this case changed, the system would have a significant problem. Because then a precedent is created, and other relatives could complain or try to follow a similar path.

WELT: That leads to absurd situations, right?
Haas: Exactly. I met another handicapped child in the same hospital in England, a girl, about 18 years old. She actually been in hospital since the beginning of his life. She gets air through a tracheotomy and is artificially ventilated and nourished. According to his father, however, she may not leave the hospital permanently. The doctors told the parents: If you take this child with you and there are problems then we will not treat this child here in the hospital anymore. The parents of this patient are now well trained. They can take care of the child, they drive with him through Liverpool, even go shopping with their daughter. But they cannot go home. It certainly relates to the cost. Home care is about three times more expensive than one in the hospital.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The deep Catholic faith of Arnaud Beltrame

Death of Arnaud Beltrame: the tribute of the priest who supported him at the hour of his death

Arnaud Beltrame died giving his life for that of a woman.

Tribute. Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame was a Catholic. He was preparing, with his fiancée, Marielle, to receive the sacrament of marriage from the hands of Father Jean-Baptiste, one of the Canons Regular of the Mother of God of Lagrasse Abbey. It is him who joined Marielle on Friday night, at the bedside of Arnaud, a few hours before his death. He was able to give him the sacrament of the sick and the apostolic blessing in articulo mortis. He then spoke at length with his fiancée before giving him communion. He provides a text, in which he pays tribute to the one who the whole of France celebrates today the heroic act.

Testimony of a Canon of the Abbey of Lagrasse (Aude), the day of his death, 24 March 2018.

In Arnaud Beltrame, the French have received a model.

It is the chance of a meeting during a visit to our abbey which is a historical monument, that I meet Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame and Marielle, who he had just married civilly on 27 August 2016. We got on together very quickly and they asked me to prepare them for the religious wedding that I was going to celebrate near Vannes on June 9th. We spent many hours working on the basics of married life for almost two years. I had just blessed their home on 16 December and we were finalizing their canonical marriage record. The very beautiful declaration of intention of Arnaud reached me 4 days before her heroic death.

This young couple regularly came to the abbey to participate in Masses, services and teachings, especially to a group of residences, Notre Dame de Cana. They were part of the Narbonne team. They came again last Sunday.

Intelligent, sporty, voluble and lively, Arnaud spoke readily of his conversion. Born into a family with little practice, he experienced a genuine conversion around 2008, at almost 33 years old. He received the first communion and confirmation after 2 years of catechumenate, in 2010.

After a pilgrimage to Sainte-Anne-d'Auray in 2015, where he asked the Virgin Mary to meet the woman of his life, he became friends with Marielle, whose faith is deep and discreet. The engagement was celebrated at the Breton abbey of Timadeuc at Easter 2016.

Passionate about the gendarmerie, he has always had a passion for France, her greatness, her history and her Christian roots that he rediscovered with his conversion. By substituting himself for the hostages, he is probably motivated by commitment to his gallantry as an officer, because for him, being a policeman meant protecting. But he knew the incredible risk that he was taking.

He also knows the promise of religious marriage he made to Marielle, who is already his wife and who he loved tenderly, as I witnessed. So? Was he allowed to take such a risk? It seems to me that only his faith can explain the madness of this sacrifice which is today the admiration of all. He knew, as Jesus told us, that "There is no greater love than to give one's life for one's friends. » (John 15.13). He knew that if his life began to belong to Marielle, it was also to God, to France, to his brothers in danger of death. I believe that only a Christian faith animated by charity could ask for this superhuman sacrifice.

I was able to join him at the hospital in Carcassonne around 9pm last night. The gendarmes and the doctors or nurses opened the way with remarkable delicacy. He was alive but unconscious. I was able to give him the Sacrament of the Sick and the apostolic blessing at the moment of death. Marielle responded to these beautiful liturgical formulas.

We were Friday of the Passion, just before the opening of Holy Week. I had just prayed the office of none and the Stations of the Cross for him. I ask the caregiver if he can have near him a Marian medal, that of the rue du Bac in Paris.

Comprehensive and professional, a nurse, stares at his shoulder. I could not marry him as an article awkwardly said, because he was unconscious. Arnaud will never now have children in life. But his astonishing heroism will, I believe, inspire many imitators, ready to give of themselves to France and her Christian joy.